Why do we ask women in business “Is your husband supportive?”

Picture this:

Successful business man in a room filled with people. He started his business shortly after becoming a parent, whilst working a minimum wage job. He’s doing really well in the business too, managed to leave his dead end job, and work towards a better future for his family alongside his wife. He’s no longer the one feeling like he’s not contributing, feeling like he’s struggling to make ends meet and is the primary earner – through sheer hard work. Sheer determination to succeed and constantly working to be better, do better and achieve that next step.

He’s discussing with the room, filled with friend’s and colleagues, how he’s achieved what he has – not because he’s arrogant about it all, but because he’s been asked to share his tips and help inspire other’s to take the leap.

Then he’s asked how he’s done it all, with such young children – how did he juggle it all? The job, the kids, the new venture, the wife… how did he be master of everything?

Then he’s asked: “Is your wife supportive? Mine just thinks I’m playing at it all.”

Wait, what?

Doesn’t sound right does it? A man being asked how he’s juggled it all. A MAN being asked if his wife supports him in his entrepreneurial ventures and not being passed off as having a flight of fancy. It doesn’t sound like the kind of question you would find banging around the table in a conference room or the kind of question that would be asked over the dinner table amongst friends… and yet it’s fast becoming the most common question I’m asked: Is your husband supportive?

In short, yes. Very.

Adam has always been very supportive of my work, when I was working at Mothercare, he would frequently give me that push and encouragement that I needed to stay focused and work on blog content, build my social media accounts and get in touch with PRs and different publications. When I started to monetise the blog, he would be the first one I would text to tell him with excitement that I’d been paid for a post – actually paid!! He was the first one who told me to really go for it with my Instagram and, alongside my mum, is relentlessly supportive and proud of EVERY single thing I do. From texts to tell me that the meltdown I had last night because I was so tired and I couldn’t bare sitting and doing another round of IG commenting because I just wanted to stop staring at screens, to getting the kids in the bath. Adam has slapped down snide remarks about me being a stay at home Mum, reminding people I’m self employed and not a stay at home parent just because I work from home. He’s even had to deal with vaguely sexist comments like “She’s doing well working with the likes of Bird’s eye, did she get paid in chicken nuggets? She’ll get you fat if she keeps cooking them!” To which he replied “Nah, she bought my new car, but the nuggets would have been tasty…”.

Whilst all of this means the absolute world to me and is one of the things I idolise about this man, it shouldn’t be considered anything out of the ordinary. He is my husband, and as he has said SO many times, it’s his job to support me and believe in me. If there is one thing Adam does, it’s believe in me, and whilst I would never diminish my achievements by saying “I couldn’t have done any of it without him” (another gender based comment that grinds my gears) I don’t think I could have done as much or have developed my blog into the career I have without his support. It certainly wouldn’t have been as fun as it has been.

As women supporting successful men, it’s assumed we are just there, behind the scenes doing the “family role” – cooking, sorting out the kids, taking care of that sort of thing whilst he becomes the entrepreneur that he is… the men rock their new roles and of course the wife is undyingly supportive, he is providing and godly right? As women it’s assumed that we have husband’s (or partners – not making assumptions here but I’m married so for ease I’m saying husband) who go to work, do nothing to help us and we’re having to do everything, whilst simultaneously that surprises people because how did this little lady suddenly find herself at he top of her game? Bless her neatly laundered poppet socks. I can’t tell you how many people tell me their husband’s aren’t supportive at all, but that they have supported their husband’s and never seen any recognition for it. It’s just assumed that they will, just assumed that he won’t.

Just no.

Being an entrepreneur has fuck all to do with gender. Being supportive or working hard to achieve your goals has NOTHING to do with gender. If your husband still leaves all the household jobs to you when you’re trying to succeed in business and he’s telling you you’re wasting your time, that’s not because he’s a man and it’s not natural for him to support you, it’s because he’s a grade A douchebag and a sexist wazzock to boot. If in turn, you are successful and your husband is supportive but you pass the “I couldn’t do it without him” drivel off at every turn, you’re playing into the gender role too. You could, in exactly the same way he could and no one would question it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is stop, think “would I ask this of a man in business?” And if the answer is no, what is the reason you’re asking that woman?

Yes, my husband is wonderfully supportive. Yes, I work hard and I wouldn’t have enjoyed building my business without his unwavering support, but I didn’t need it to become successful in what I do. That came from me and he made it a million times easier and more fun… but I would do it for him. We’re equals.

Yes, my husband is supportive. Just as I am of him.

1 Comment

  1. May 30, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    Great post! I am lucky to have a husband who supported me when I wanted to quit my job and pursue ‘online stuff’ and he too is getting good at telling friends ‘it wasn’t FREE she works really hard for all this stuff;!

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